Catholic Recipe: Lebkuchen V
Also Called: Lebzelten; Life Cake; Lebkucken; Life cookies
Lebkuchen means "bread of life," and the name seems to be more than a coincidence when one thinks of it as the traditional bread baked for the birthday of the One Who said, "I have come that you may have life and that you may have it more abundantly." To Austrians, there are some cookies so connected with Christmas that they are an absolute "must." Of these, Lebkuchen is Number One.
Boil sugar, honey, and water for five minutes. Beat in eggs. Add sifted dry ingredients, stir in fruit and nuts. Cover and let stand overnight. Roll 1/4 inch thick. Cut into rectangles or squares large enough to cut a Christmas scene on.
We have about 10 Nativity cookie cutters which we use in group scenes. One cookie could be a shepherd looking at the Star; another Jesus in the cradle with Mary and Joseph on either side; or Jesus surrounded by donkey, cow, lamb, etc.; three Wise Men following the Star. You can make your own variations. Just make sure you press down firmly with floured cutter, and give cookie enough room for expansioin on sheet. These make giant-size gift cookies. You may put a sugar glaze on them, or outline the figures with lemon-flavored confectioners icing, using a cake decorator. This is a good cookie to make with the children. They have a natural reverence and even take a little extra care in imprinting the Baby Jesus cutter. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.Recipe Source: Holy Housewifery Cookbook by Ethel Marbach, Abbey Press, Saint Meinrad, Indiana, 1968